If all of our least favorite things about American style were cross-pollinated into one distinct look, we’d have the latest Japanese fashion craze, gal (ギャル or gyaru), which has taken life in a group of women that go by the name Black Diamond. The root of this subculture is backlash that began in the ’90s, as an attempt to rage against traditional Japanese beauty ideals, such as black hair and pale skin.
These ladies have hair big and bright enough to rival that atop Amanda Bynes’ head and tans so orange, they could send Snooki into jealous fits. Not to mention, their head-to-toe looks boast so many animal prints, studs, chains, and fur, our eyes are paralyzed deciding where to look first.
While the styles are outrageous, beneath the surface they come from a relatively profound place. According to Gawker’s video game blog Kotaku, the Black Diamond is a reaction to the decade-long “pale skin boom” that began in Japan in 2001. Another point for their team: the close-knit community puts an emphasis on women using fashion to appeal to other women rather than men.
While we respect any instance in which women are dressing for sport versus trying to impress men, this phenomenon is frankly kind of scary. The Black Diamond is plotting world domination with a “global expansion project” that includes releasing a song and music video — and if Psy’s “Gangnam Style” is any indication of the warp speed viral sensations coming out of Asia, we should brace ourselves. We have plenty of fake hair and tans to go around here in the States and think it would be best of this subculture stuck to the streets of Tokyo.